Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Palanan-the town that time forgot



Palanan is a remote 2nd class municipality in the province of Isabela, Philippines. According to the latest census, it has a population of 16,254 people in 2,837 households.
It was in Palanan that one of the final chapters of the Philippine-American War was written in March 23, 1901, when Emilio Aguinaldo was captured by American forces led by Gen. Frederick Funston, who had gained access to Aguinaldo's camp by pretending to surrender to the Filipinos. Primary mode of transportation is by plane through the Palanan Municipal Airport.

Transportation to Palanan Isabela
Palanan Airport is an airport serving the general area of Palanan in the province of Isabela in the Philippines. The airport is classified as a feeder airport by the Air Transportation Office.
Cauayan Airport (Filipino: Paliparan ng Cauayan, Ilokano: Pagtayaban ti Cauayan) (IATA: CYZ, ICAO: RPUY) is an airport serving the general area of Cauayan City, located in Isabela province in the Philippines. It is one of two airports in Isabela, the other being Palanan Airport in the town of Palanan. It is classified as a secondary airport, or a minor commercial domestic airport, by the Air Transportation Office, a body of the Department of Transportation and Communications that is responsible for the operations of not only this airport but also of all other airports in the Philippines except the major international airports.

Between 1999 and 2008, the airport hosted no commercial flights. There were proposals to reintroduce commercial service the airport, such as an independent Manila-Cauayan route, as well as a route further on to Tuguegarao Airport in Tuguegarao City.[1] After almost a decade of not hosting commercial service, Cauayan Airport re-opened to commercial traffic on August 15, 2008 using PAL Express aircraft,marking the return of Philippine Airlines to Cauayan, having stopped its services to the city in 1994.

Via Plane
If go first to Palanan you can fly from Cauayan, Isabela with Cyclone Airways or go by bus or Van from Tuguegarao to Cauayan and Palanan via Airplane (mini airplane).

Makikita ninyo dito and magagandang pasyalan

Palanan – the town that time forgot.
Mention the name Palanan, and even province mates of this remote town finds this municipality a mystery, mainly because of its inaccessibility and many natural wonders, said Governor Ma. Gracia Cielo Padaca, who described the 397 – year old town as “one of Isabela’s best kept secrets.” Though some outsiders tag Palanan (population less than 20,000) as “the town that time fogot,” many of its residents don’t seem to mind.

Nestled in the farthest eastern corner of the province of Isabela, bounded by the Pacific Ocean, the relatively small and unknown coastal town of Palanan provides a number of empty and peaceful “island alternatives” when its neighboring provinces are jam-packed with beach frolickers.
Nature conservationist have managed to push Palanan into the limelight, calling it “the home of the guardians of the Sierra Madre” and citing local folks for sacrificing their poor town’s progress and development” in order to save the virgin forests in the northern part of the mountain range. The mountains are “wild and remote, with not a single road crossing the range in its entire length (although most maps do erroneously show several routes).” The terrain is extremely rugged, the mountains steep and densely forested. The highest point within the area is Mount Cresta (eleavation:5486 feet), with at least two more peaks namely Mount Divilacan (4,301 feet) and Mount Palanan (3,977 feet).”
More than 90,000 hectares of Palanan’s total land area of 1,220 square kilometers are timberland, while another 10,339 hectares are used as cropland. It has a built-up area of only 52.05 hectares. In the absence of direct road access from adjacent towns, Palanan can only be reached by a 30-35 minute flight in a six-seater, single engine Cyclone Cessna commuter plane from Cauayan City or a six to seven-hour boat ride from the towns of Dingalan or Baler in Aurora province, in the south, or a three to five day hike from San Mariano town. Except for some tricycles, a few horses and improvised three-wheeled motorized “kuligligs”, the streets of Palanan are empty most of the time.
“Taking the plane in itself is a treat in itself,” Governor Padaca emphasized. “You can see the beauty of the Sierra Madre from the sky, the green treetops look like giant broccolis. Eco tourists will be glad to know that six kinds of forests have been identified in the area, ranging from the lowland evergreen to montane, mangrove beach forest, limestone and forest growing on ultra basic rocks.

DisadSad Falls

Bird studies conducted in the early 90s by an international team of scientists revealed 241 species, along with 78 of the nation’s 169 endemic species, including the mighty Philippine Eagle. It was a similar story with mammals, 14 species of bats were also found to be endemic.
According to Department of Tourism’s Regional director Blessida Diwa, for a long time, tourism has not been given much attention in the province despite its diverse offering to both environmentalist and regular tourists. But the DOT, with the help of the local government of Isabela, is trying to change that now. Palanan’s rich and colorful historical background, natural harbors, abundant corrals, prolific marine life and rich terrestrial areas including virgin forests are just among the resources that it can offer for eco-tourism destinations.
And then there are the virgin white sand beaches of Dicotcotan and Didadungan, probably Isabela’s best kept secrets. The coastline of both beaches are very much exposed to strong waves from the Pacific Ocean, perfect not only for swimming but also for surfing. Dicotcotan beach has a three-kilometer coastline with coral reefs, sea grass beads and sandy shoreline that is fringed with a coastal forest and a a village. According to Reynante de Veyra, a staff from the city hall, there has been frequent sightings of pointed nosed dolphins and hump back whales aside from the various species of fishes and shellfish, and marine turtles that can be seen from the surface.
Other interesting eco-tourism spots in Palanan are the Culasi Beach, Diminalo Lake, Kanataw Lake, Digoyo Lake, Kanasamuyan Cave, Disangkilan and Sad-sad falls. A lot of natural attractions to see which makes the trip to this remote town time well spent.


Palanan in Isabela boasts of rivers, creeks, and streams as it is bound by the waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Dilaknadanum, Palanan, Isabela, Philippines

Home of Agta people, on the coast of Isabela. Note the lean-to houses on the beach and small farmsteads upriver. Looking west, 1985 the foothills of the Sierra Madre run down to the coast.


Clearing in the mangroves of Palanan, Isabela - Northeast Luzon, Philippines. February 1991. These clearings may have been made for agriculture or fuelwood gathering, perhaps aquaculture.